December 5, 2011, 11:14 AM

LuLuLemon goes on a web expansion run

But despite higher web sales, the chain seeks a new e-commerce chief.

Lead Photo

E-commerce sales remained on an upward path for specialty athletic apparel retailer LuluLemon Athletica Inc. in the third quarter.

But LuluLemon, No. 229 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, will also be undertaking a bevy of new Internet initiatives at the same time it looks for a new e-commerce executive. On the retailer’s third quarter earnings call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Christine Day said that senior vice president of global marketing and direct channel Chris Ladd had left the company.  Ladd is now the chief digital officer at Finish Line Inc.

His appointment as the chief e-commerce manager at LuLuLemon was only announced in July. LuluLemon hasn’t announced a replacement. “We will begin our initial round of interviews for a senior vice president of brand and community and replacing Chris Ladd,” Day told analysts.

At the same time LuLuLemon is looking for a new senior vice president to head up its Internet channel, the retailer is also moving forward with an ambitious e-commerce agenda, Day said. A newly designed web site launched in November will be upgraded with more new features including more video.

The retailer, which last month also rolled out Ivivva.com, a dance and athletic apparel site for girls in the U.S., also will open more international e-commerce sites in Australia and elsewhere. “In Q1 2012, we will launch our first localized web site in Australia, with the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and potentially one other market to follow later in the year,” Day told analysts. “Our U.S. sales are exceeding Canadian e-commerce sales, with strong demand coming from Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. As we do with our LuLuLemon site, Ivivva e-Commerce gives us insight into guest demand and potential future store locations.”

The new initiatives will continue to support growing Internet sales. For the third quarter ended Oct. 29, LuLuLemon reported:

  • Direct to consumer revenue, which the chain says is virtually all online, increased about 70.7% to $23.9 million from about $14 million in the prior year.
  • Total sales increased 30.9% to $230.2 million from $175.8 million.
  • Comparable-stores sales increased by 16%.
  • Net income was $38.9 million, up by 50.2% from about $25.9 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Internet Retailer calculates direct sales accounted for about 10.4% of total sales compared with 8.0% in the third quarter of 2010

For the first three quarters:

  • Direct to consumer revenue, which the chain says is virtually all online, increased about 72.4% to $56.9 million from about $33 million in the prior year.
  • Total sales increased 35.0% to $629.3 million from $466.3 million.
  • Comparable-stores sales increased by 18%.
  • Net income was $111 million, up by 65.2% from about $67.2 million in the first three quarters of 2010.

Internet Retailer calculates direct sales accounted for about 9.0% of total sales compared with 7.1% in the first three quarters of 2010.

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